Sunday, July 30, 2006

Now for something a little different


quilt
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
We went to the Coburg Quilt Show on Saturday...about 200 recently made quilts hanging in the park in the middle of little Coburg, a bunch of antique quilts at the Grange hall, and an exhibit of 'art' quilts at the Town Hall. I used to quilt, so I can appreciate the effort that goes into quilting. And some of the quilts are breathtaking.

On the other hand, there were several quilts that used fabric printed with whimsical kittens or barnyard animals that just seem to be the Red Heart of quilting. And while I'm sure the first quilt made out of old t-shirts was charming, the 35th or so is not so much. And while I'm ranting (what is in me?) I can see why a quilt made of photos of all your grandchildren printed on fabric can be extremely valuable and precious to the owner, but I can't see why it should be shown in a quilt show.

But that's just me. And if I've insulted any quilters I deeply apologize.

Maybe I'm testy because after the quilt show we went to a few 'Tour of Homes' homes in the area. TheTour of Homes is sponsored by the Homebuilders Association and the ones were visited were priced in the $1.5 - $2 million range. The homes were beautiful, but the size and excess was depressing to me. The $2mil home had an atrium living room on the first floor and a family room with wet bar on the second floor. And a home theatre. And a billiards room. And a playroom. And a workout room. And an office. And four bedrooms. But it didn't have a real dining room...it had a dining room TABLE pretty much almost in the entry way of the house.

And it had a swimming pool surrounded by SAND which had started to wash into the pool. And a fountain. And a hot tub. And a play area also surrounded by sand (in case the kids got bored in the playroom). It was just too much.

Maybe in the same way the constant parade of quilts made with adorable kitten fabrics were too much.

To get this out of our systems, we took a hike up Spencer's Butte. This is a local hike which winds for about a mile up a nice trail ending with a half mile scramble up a bunch of rocks to get the top. I always get a keen sense of accomplishment when I get to the top, until I see the other people who join us at the top: people who have carried their kids up on baby backpacks, older ladies in sandals with handbags, girls in skirts, etc. Not exactly your tough hike crowd. Oh well. We had fun, and the view was beautiful---we felt we could almost touch the clouds.

Friday, July 28, 2006

RPMs!


rpms
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I finished the RPM socks from knitty.com. Well, not quite, as you astute photo viewers can see I still have an end, or two, to weave in, but then they'll be done.

The pattern is a bit difficult to see (go see Alyssa's blog if you want a better picture of how they look. But in person they look great. If I do say so myself.

The yarn: STR lightweight. The needles: Addis 0 (and one is bent now). I cast on 54 stitches. i did not do the cuff, I simply forgot. Five repeats of the leg.

I used the leftovers of the sock yarn to cast on the first square of my log cabin blanket...so if you find any yarn you'd like commemorated in my blanket, send me an email: kbshee AT comcast DOT net and thanks to all of you who have offered up your bibs and bobs of sock yarn for the cause.

I'm also working on a top down cardigan using cotton ease, and the afghan square. New pair of socks to go on the needles today too. And of course, seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness, which doesn't seem to be getting any bigger sitting at the bottom of my knitting bag. I think in the back of my mind I'm hoping it slips off the needles so I can frog the whole thing. Bad Kim!!

In other news, we've become addicted to the HBO show "Deadwood" and have been watching the first two seasons on DVD. I'm surprised there aren't more knitters in Deadwood...can't you see Al Swearingen working on some gauntlets in his office above the Gem?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's just not that great


lbt
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I finished the Lotus Blossom Tank and did the seaming and the finishing today. I'd show you a picture of me wearing it but it's just not that great. I'm not really disappointed...because it isn't like I CAN'T wear it,...I'm just not that crazy about it.

Reasons why.

1. Even though I got gauge, it is a bit big. I even made the 39" size which should be snug on me, and this is nothing even remotely close to snug.

2. Because the top was so loose, i ended up doing 4 rows of garter stitch as a border and decreasing some stitches to make the top part fit together.

3. Because the armholes were so loose, I ended up doing some decreases in the garter stitch rows around the armholes to tighten them up.

4. Due to 2+3, the end result is a bit 'puffy' and says 'Holly Hobby" more than 'sophisticated asian inspired pattern".

I haven't blocked it with the edging yet, so maybe that will help. The colors are pretty. I don't hate it. I'm just not that crazy about it.

Moving on.

Smiley's Yarn is having an online sale of some of my favorite discontinued yarn...Cotton Ease! Cotton Ease! $1.99 a ball. Run over there and buy you some. I love this yarn. I bought 28 balls (14 of blue, 14 of red) because, well, $2 a ball. And it's discontinued! Worse case scenario I can sell it on ebay...some of it goes for $5 a ball there.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Almost there...


purple sock yarn
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
...in that this is *almost* sock yarn. I spun this from Crown Mountain Farms superwash roving, and while the singles are pretty good, the actual plying could have been a bit firmer I think. Anyway. This will make a pair of hiking socks (yes, I'd wear purple hiking socks) and I have enough left over to try to spin 'real' sock yarn. Wish me luck.

The knitting part of the Lotus Blossom Tank is done, I need to seam the two 3.5 inch seams and then see how it looks. I think it is a bit short and wide but I'm not sure. Picks when I get those seams done (so don't hold your breath is what I'm sayin').

Sunday, July 23, 2006

-Insert Heat Joke Here-


candle
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Yes, it is hot, isn't it? Even here in the beautiful Willamette valley, where the average high/lows for July are 82/54, yesterday was 10something/72, so it is quite ridiculously hot for here. We tried to keep cool by taking the dogs for a short hike in the Coast Range yesterday and then over to the beach in Florence. The hike was pretty...along a creek...but had some, ah, interesting problems with trail markings. As a result I'm a bit sore today (picture me scrambling up a dirt wall in an attempt to follow what ended up NOT being a trail). The beach was foggy and cool and it felt almost sacreligious to put on a jacket so the dogs could play in the surf. A good day.

Two things to show you. First is a knitted wire-and-bead votice candle holder that used some black and gold beads in assorted shapes. While this looks OK, I worry it comes close to the tacky 'fish net art' that we see at beach houses (you know, a bit of netting caught up with 'objects d'art'). So I'm going to try this again on smaller needles with smaller beads, all in one color, to try to make this a bit more elegant.

beret
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Voila, the felted beret from the book "Hats, a Knitters Dozen". This is the best felted beret pattern...instead of knitting in the round you knit it side to side with short rows to make the puffy sides, and you end up with a nice brim that doesn't need elastic or anything like that. You end up grafting 45 stitches together to close it but I don't mind the kitchener stitch at all, and if you do you could probably do a 3-needle bind off and have a bit of a seam but still a nice beret. This was done in a heathered purple Cascade 220 (one skein) and is posed on top of a lamp shade!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Inspiration


mdkcover.jpg
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Have you seen this book?

It is quite the book. It has stories, patterns, tips, hints...but it is really about finding your own knitting 'voice'...discovering for yourself how creative you can be with your knitting. I keep finding more little gems as I read it. It is really inspiring me.

In fact, I'm inspired to begin a 'log cabin' blanket out of leftover sock yarn. Now, you know I love me a knit sock, so I have lots of sock yarn left over. But probably not enough for a blanket. So...if you have some bits and bobs and leftover sock yarn that you want to send to me, I'd love to have it. I'll reimburse you for postage and will send you some stitch markers as a little thank you gift.

Leave me a comment or send me an email at kbshee AT comcast DOT net and I'll send you my mail address. Thanks so much!

In other inspiration news: the Yarn Harlot is going to be in Eugene in September. And her visit happens to coincide with the visit of Bonnie from Costa Rica so we'll have a little knitting moment together at the reading. So cool!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Spinning Round


rpm #1
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
These socks are hard to photograph.

Or should I say sock? Since I've only done one?

Anyway, rpm sock #1 from the Knitty pattern. I used the STR lightweight instead of medium weight, and size 0 needles (and I BENT one of them! Addis! Who knew?). I cast on 54 stitches and they are a bit big at the top.

Because I forgot the ribbing at the top. Oh well. Live and learn.

But the spirals are very fun. In fact, Tim mentioned that the pattern would look terrific on gloves or mittens. The question is: can I bear to give up a skein of STR for mittens? :-) I do have a skein of Ruby Slippers in medium weight, which seems to be a workhorse for STR and they would probably make more, so maybe I'll use that.

I've got a baaaaaaad case of startitis. I'll blame it on the weather: we are scheduled to have a bunch of 95+ days and so I want lots of little things to knit. I cast on for one of the FINAL aran afghan squares (I've missed doing cables, believe it or not). The Lotus BLossom Tank has moved into the 'mindless' zone: I've finished the lace and now I'm working on the stockinette top of the body. I ahve this sock #2 to do, as well as my lace shawl, and the felted beret that is on the needles. And I want to start more socks, since, well, it's summer, and summer is time for knitting socks.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Word

Flickr is acting up, so I can't post a pic of one rpm sock. In the meantime:

Blog-Word! for kbshee
center
Your word buddies:
helloyarn@livejournal.com
@
Created by Grahame

Monday, July 17, 2006

Arizona


sedonayarn
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I'm back from the visit with family in Flagstaff. It was unusually warm for Flagstaff while I was there: highs in the 90s in Flag and in the 100s in Sedona, which was the talk of everyone anywhere we went. I got to see my brother's new house which is just lovely, and spent some quality time with my nephew. We spent Saturday at Wapatki National Monument and Sunset Crater, both pretty places and so different from Green Oregon.

We went to Sedona on Friday specifically to visit Red Rock Knits . I had read some good reviews of the shop online and wanted to see if they stocked some Sedona-only yarn. Yes, indeed, they do. It is a small shop that seemed pretty much depleted (it is the end of the summer tourist season in Sedona about now) but I found some beautiful handpainted yarn by someone named Mary Gavan (I can't find any info about her online, so if you know anything about her let me know). On the left is about 500 yards of rayon/cotton in a colorway called "Sharhazade", all blues and purples. On the right is 8 ounces/150 yards of 100% wool in a "panda' colorway. This just begs to be felted, don't you think?

I did get a bit of knitting done, and am almost through the first rpm socks from knitty.com. I did bend my size 0 addi which was annoying, but bent it back to workable shape. Pics soon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"Cast on 230 stitches"...


lb #1
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Honestly, you'd think I'd know better when those are among the first instructions in the pattern.

This is the Lotus Blossom Tank from Summer '06 Interweave Knits (it is the tank on the cover of the magazine). Well, it's 3/4 of the bottom lace part...which I thought I was just about done with until I re-read the pattern and found out I needed to do 4 repeats of the 16-row pattern instead of 3). I knew then that I needed to take a little break from this pattern. I like it, but, you know, 230 stitches per row.

And it's not an even 10 stitch repeat. Oh now, some rows you knit 1 and then start the repeat, some rows you knit 2, some rows 0. So markers aren't going to help. To make sure I don't get too lost (the voice of experience of someone who's always frogged the heck out of it) I use a straightened-out paper clip to mark the start of every 10 stitch repeat. Then,once I know I have all 10 stitches present and accounted for, I move the paperclip to mark the start of the next 10 stitches.

This comes in handing since did I mention? There are 230 stitches on every row? And sometimes life does interfere, right in the middle of the row!

In addition to my upscale stitchmarker tool, I"m using the new Knit Pick Options needles. Love these. They feel just like addis to me at less than half the price. I did have a little unscrewing problem but that was my own fault for not using the tightening tool.

I'm off to visit some family for a couple of days and the tank is staying here. I think I'll be in a better mood when we're reunited.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fie on thee, Turkish Heel


mermaid socks
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I love these mermaid socks...they're from Lucy Neatby's book "Cool Socks Warm Feet" made in some opal yarn I bought from elann and I now I can't remember what kind it is. I like this pattern a lot, and these make nice summer socks because they're a wee bit lacey.

I did thse with a turkish heel, that I just don't like the looks of. I've done these before and I think I remember them sort of stretching out and looking like normal after a bit. However, right now it just sort of looks like Madonna's Pointy Bra in the heel of the sock.

I haven't blocked or washed yet, so the cute little toe should look just fine once I do that.

*Smart Shopper Alert*. About a week ago I was at our local Ben Franklin (it is my favorite LYS, they have no attitude and nice yarn) and noted that two colors of CP Kid Merino were on sale: Regular price $5.99, sale price $4.49. I bought two balls of black. I was back there a few days ago and the price was lowered to $2 a ball. So I bought three more balls of black and 5 balls of lavender.

Now what to do with them?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Little Black Beaded Bag


little black purse
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I go to maybe one dress-up event a year. I usually can pull an outfit together, and dig out a pair of pumps from my Glory Days working at an ad agency, but i never know what to do about a bag.

So I knit this one. And I think there's a little more to it than the picture will show.

The Yarn: Beaded Black Yarn from the Angora Cottage , one skein. I bought this at Stitches West because I wanted to try knitting with a pre-beaded yarn. This is a bit pricey but it makes a lovely fabrice.

Stitch Pattern: Linen Stitch:
R1: Sl 1 wyf, *P1, Sl 1 wyb*
R2: Sl 1 wyb, *k1, sl1 wyf*

Body of bag: Cast on 45 stitches. Knit linen stitch til length of bag is about 12". Bind off all stitches.

Trim on flap of bag: I used the 3 needle ribbon cord scallop from Knitting Over the Edge. You could leave plain if you wish.

I cord: Cast on 4 stitches and complete a 44 inch i cord (longer if you want a longer strap...but keep in mind this is a very stretchy yarn).

Finishing: Fold the bag so that the two sides are 4 1/2 inches and the flap is 3 inches. Sew seams. Then attach icord with knitting yarn using a 'barberpole' technique to make the edges look kind of lacey. Attach the icord starting at the center bottom of the bag.

I have probably 30 or so yards left over...so enough to make some type of necklace with the leftovers.

Any questions? Let me know!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

You know those Buzz Off shirts?

The ones that have some type of bug repellant woven in to the fabric?

Well, don't waste your money. I wore my Buzz Off shirt on a hike yesterday and, simply put, it did not work. We did the Diamond Falls hike (if you're familiar with my little part of Oregon, it is a loop hike that begins at Salt Creek Falls) and the hike was beautiful but the mosquitos were huge!!! They were all over me, Tim and the dogs too. Poor us! We would hike in and out of pockets of mosquitos and neither the Buzz Off nor the bug spray kept those buggers away from us.

Indeed, the hike did not begin auspiciously (sp?) as I forgot some of our hiking snacks. Luckily, I packed the cashews but left the goldfish and the raisins on the counter. But once we got started we enjoyed the mosquito-free portions of the hike as well as the incredibly beautiful falls. The dogs like the falls too, especially Shasta who gets so hot on these hikes that she wallows in any pool of water she finds.


back of sweater
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I finished this sweater a while ago...it is a free pattern from elann.com made with elann's house wool. It is almost impossible to photograph this sweater, the lace just doesn't show up. Anyway, it is horseshoe lace in the body and milanese (?) lace on the arms. There are points at the bottom hem, which makes it a bit court-jesterish but never mind. It needed heavy blocking (now I know what that means) to make it fit.

Have new things on the needles to show you soon: a felted beret and mermaid socks. And the lotus blossom tank.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Bad Knitting Karma


handspun
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I'm having some bad knitting karma, so I will show you some handspun (bad knitting karma apparently has no effect on handspun). This is some of the beautiful fiber from Teyani and Klaus . My goal was to spin this 8 ounces into sock yarn sized yarn...not to make sock yarn (necessarily) but to see if I could do it (see, I also bought some superwash from them, and that will definitely be socks. If I can spin it sock yarn size).


not quite
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
So the 8 ounces spun into about 400 yards of yarn (which is good, for socks, but not so good for other stuff..what do you do wtih 400 yards other than a scarf?). That's the good news. The bad news is that it isn't *quite* sock yarn, as witnessed by this scientific comparison with a strand of red Cascade 220 (which is worsted weight, I think). Oh well. The other good news is that there are certain places in this yarn where it is sock sized, so I know I can do it. Now to just be consistent.

The bad karma? Where to start. I spent 5 hours winding 800 yards of BMFA 'rio' into a ball yesterday: it is a very slippery rayon and I still have more than 300 yards to wind, but gave up. Not a great way to spend a day. I've started on the Lotus Blossom Tank from IK, but have had to start it twice because I keep making booboos. And I believe I made another one on the last row. Can't figure out whether to call it done on that and leave it til later, or to plow through. The mere sight of the words 'cast on 230 stitches' makes me shiver.

Anyway. Had coffee this morning with Jodie this morning. We're both excited about the new rpm sock pattern from Knitty and we're also having a Dye Morning next Tuesday. Additionally, we have a big summer surprise planned that we'll announce next week. Stay tuned! It will be fun!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Before and After


before
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I felted this bag yesterday...I haven't felted for a long time, and I forgot how fun it is (not to mention the wonderful eau de wet sheep that pervades the house post-felting). Anyway.

This bag is called the 'knitting around' bag or something like that (if you want the details, leave a comment and I'll go dig up the pattern). Here is how it works. You knit the circle at one end, starting in the center (ie increases out), then you knit the body of the bag, then you knit the other end as a decreasing circle. So you end up wtih (for lack of a better world) a bolster with no way in (until after you felt it). I put the straps on before I felted even though those weren't the instructions. Anyway, you can see that the bag pre-felted was about the size of a coffee table.


after
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And here is the 'after' picture, post-felting in our front loader for about an hour and a half (aren't front loaders fun?). The finished dimensions are 12 inches across and 24 inches in circumfrence (sp? that's around the circle, yes?) (Tim is grimacing now if he is reading this). (So is Steve). I cut an opening in the bag from the end of one black stripe in the center to another, and I think it needs to be a bit bigger. I had knit on a loop closure and I'll use a felted button from my stash to finish it off.

I'm pleased with how this turned out. The 'cutting' was scary (with our cat Stella as my witness,I will NEVER steek) and I put the straps on wrong but luckily they were way to long and needed shortening anyway. All in all, a success (imho).

The bag took two hanks of Cascade 220 in Red and one in Black with almost no left over. From my stash (yay on using up stash).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Nothing says the Fourth of July...


Christopher Robin
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
...like an alpaca.

Meet Christopher Robin, a suri alpaca that lives at Starlight Alpacas that we met at the Alpaca show (held the same weekend as BSG). I love suris (OK, I love huacayas too but I just love suris a bit more). The owner let me sneak into the pen and pet Christopher Robin, who could not have cared a bit about my visit. Oh well. I was still quite smitten with him.

We're having a mellow fourth: we worked outside a bit (Tim's still out there), watched the World Cup Semi (I'm a cursed fan, rooting for both England last Saturday and Germany today) and knit (OK, I did, not Tim). Cody gets freaked out on the 4th because of the fireworks, so we tend to stay close to home.

I almost finished the felted bag (not felted yet) and the evening bag I've been working on, so I'll have bag pics to show in the next day or so.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Rock & Weave Revisited


r&w w/ buttons
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Here are the Rock and Weaves with the new buttons that I bought last week at the BSG (from Sheila and Michael . Quite beautiful. The buttons themselves are a light peach color but they really pick up all the colors of the yarn.


r&w cu
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Here they are up close. I may submit these to the Lane County Fair since they are so beautiful (imho), although the decrease on the gusset is a bit loosey goosey.

OK, so I don't so feel so bad about my WIP count. In fact, Ling dear, I'm going to swatch for the Lotus Blossom tank today so I guess you'll have yet another WIP!

And I decided to knit the Icarus shawl with the Blue Faced Leicester from Fleece Artist that I've had for a year. Jodie mentioned she might start this one so I'll have a knitting buddy for that project too.

In other news: we took a mini road trip in the miata yesterday. Some people cruise to wineries, some to the beach, we cruised to the Del Taco in Albany. Love the Del Taco. We don't have one in Eugene and Tim discovered it on his last trip to California. We drove up I5 and back on the backroads and passed through lots of really really small Oregon towns. It was fun. And, well, we had Del Taco.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

WIP Danger

I'm coming dangerously close to having (in my opinion) too many WIPs.

Here is my WIP philosophy. I need:

1. the 'mindless wip': something to knit when I'm reading. This must be primarily a knit stitch, and if it is in the round even better. In a perfect world, this is something that will be felted since it can be a bit sloppy if the book is good.
2. the 'tv' wip: not as purely mindless as the mindless wip but something with a memorizable pattern repeat. This can be a cable pattern with a chart but not a big chart. can also be knit in the car if the mindless wip is too big to tote along.
3. the 'concentration' wip: a challenging knit that demands quite a bit of attention (although something like a football game on tv or, say, 'What Not to Wear" could be one). For me, this category includes lace and cable patterns with big charts.

So that said, i should be fine with three WIPs to cover every situation in my day. But no. The 'x' factor is the love of starting projects and casting on. At this point, I'm itching to cast on more projects! Here is my inventory:

Mindless wip: a felted bag
TV wip: I currently have two: I designed (and I use the word very loosely) a linen stitch evening bag using angora with beads from SW, and mermaid socks.
Concentration wip: a lace shawl that I've just picked up again (it has a pretentious name that i'm too lazy to look up).

So I have four. And I am itching to cast on for the Lotus Blossum Tank (a concentration wip).And I've hoarded enough Cotton Ease for a cotton ease cardigan (top down, single row stripes, sort of designed by me) that would be a mindless wip.

The problem with too many WIPs, as you know, is that it takes so long to turn them into FOs.
Especially the concentration wips.

so that's my dilemma. New projects are like little diamonds just out of my reach, sparkling and seductive. I. Must. Be. Strong.

Or not.

So. I finished "the Stolen Child" which was interesting to read. Not my favorite fairy book of all time (and THAT would be Jonathan Strange, just so you know). I started "The Templar Legacy" which is another DaVinci Code wannabe, that is actually pretty good. More cathars! Hooray!

How many wips do you have going? And am I insane to think about it this much?

Rabbit rabbit!